2020 PFIG Recipient Rebecca Alemayehu
Journal Entry #1
Within this last month of interning, I’ve learned a lot more about the purpose of the Alhambra US Chamber. I had initially applied to gain a general idea of how to engage in work at the intersection of international education and business. The variety of projects have certainly expanded my vision of this organization. I have completed tasks ranging from compiling international contacts from education institutions, to researching the market for online collaborative software development. Some of my fellow interns have written blog posts on the development of the Black Lives Matter movement to share with international audiences. These are few examples of the flexibility that this internship offers.
This short period of time has offered me so much insight into the kind of work environment I envision in my future. My supervisor has maintained open communication and constant support; this has been invaluable to effectively working at home and my creative process. As interns, we are also encouraged to design our own projects that are aligned to the organization’s mission as well as our interests. Within the next few weeks, I plan to help the org expand its connections with international students through my personal network.
Journal Entry #2
Since my last post, politics and my internship have intersected. Alhambra interns were asked to compile a list of immigration lawyers from each state in response to ICE’s initial plan to revoke visas of international students. This effort was just one of many by the organization to address the threat of deportation at the expense of their education. It was a relief to know that this decision was not implemented. Still, I was grateful to work for an organization that could quickly respond in real-time. I know how crucial it is for me to be a part of something that does not get bogged down by bureaucracy to effect change.
I was also on other teams assigned to creating networks with American public high schools. This research revealed several disparities in resources between the top and bottom-ranking schools, a trend present in all of the states. I will work on building partnerships with Alhambra with schools that are sure to need support, especially in light of COVID.
Journal Entry #3
The final stretch of my internship has come around sooner than I expected. As we wrap up projects, I realise just how much we’ve accomplished. Over 70 interns completed projects ranging from educational support for families disproportionately affected by COVID, to connecting with students from rural areas, to offering medical ESL. I witnessed how successful collaboration- all virtual- resulted in creative initiatives. It was initially difficult to imagine that my distant role could contribute to advancing Alhambra’s mission of connecting students from all over to US higher education. I’m grateful to the project leads whose open communication made it possible for us to work productively and effectively towards our goals. My internship has improved my ability to collaborate with others without being in the same work environment. I believe this experience is invaluable, especially in wake of COVID and its impact on the kinds of jobs available. I truly believe I have more insight into my strengths and weaknesses which will guide me especially post-grad. This summer has also taught me how to conduct research on inequities in access to education. I feel more confident in my abilities to plan and delegate tasks to complete projects. I plan to continue interning during the fall semester on the social media team.